PTW: Feb 2018

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HEALTH | EDUCATION

SUHAILA ABOUD Activist, Mother, Clinical Management of Rape Specialist Psychologist & Zuri Impact Award Winner

GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT | VOLUNTEERING Edition 1 Volume 4


CONTENTS FEATURE INTERVIEW

SuHAYLA ABOUD Activist, Mother, Clinical Management of Rape Specialist Psychologist & Zuri Impact Award Winner



The Dark

UNIVERSE CHIRAG LODHIA, EDITOR IN CHIEF

MARVEL | STARWARS HARRY PO


In Hollywood, creating cinematic “universes” are the new tactic for marketing and revenue generation at the box office. We already have the Marvel and Star Wars universes under Disney and, DC and Harry Potter universes from Warner Bros. Now another production company wants to put their hand in the ring. Recently Universal studios followed the reboot of The Mummy franchise with the announcement that their full collection of horror movies would undergo

S|DC OTTER

remakes and all feature within a collective ‘dark universe’. The idea: bring monster and horror characters together and appear in each other’s movies and share storylines. Their aim is to create a team similar to The Avengers or The Justice League that contains: Dr Jekyll (and Mr Hyde), Frankenstein’s Monster, The Invisible Man and The Mummy.

Although The Mummy was released with underwhelming reviews from critics, the source materials of these movies are anything-but. The stories which these movies came from have been part of classic literature for over one-hundred years; and whilst their movie counterparts are centred around action sequences and theatrics with thin plot-lines, the household gothic literature texts are a deeper dive into the darker aspects of human society, psychology and motives. Unlike the other horror classics, The Mummy is not based on Ancient Egyptian mythology. Ancient Egyptians believed that the essence of the person mummified would live again in the after-life, but never believed in resurrection within our world. The concept of re-born or reanimated Mummies came famously into English literature in 1827 when Jane Webb wrote ‘The Mummy! A Tale of the Twenty-Second Century’; though, this isn’t the source material for the movie either.


If you’re looking for an enjoyable read close to The Mummy, there is one source from 1897 that some academics believe is the true source; Bram Stoker’s Gothic novel Dracula is considered the novel which paved the way for the horror and supernatural genre. The Mummy shares many similarities to Dracula including the primary character, plots, themes and concept of using historic references. Stoker’s Dracula draws from the real-life ruler Vlad Dracula, infamously known as Vlad the Impaler who lived in the 1400’s. Vlad gained horrific notoriety for allegedly impaling his enemies for public display, murdering beggars, forcing women to eat their babies and other truly horrifying acts. Aside of the historic reference, the book also encompassed many fears that characterized the 19th century: the repercussions of advancing science, abandoning traditional beliefs and female sexuality. Although the book does not go deep into its themes, it is still an enjoyable novel for anyone nostalgic about medieval history, enjoys a simple plotline and looking to test the waters of gothic literature.

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Taking another step into the Dark Universe is The Invisible Man by H.G Wells; a slightly comical novel despite its typical gothic themes. The story follows a recluse who doesn’t like society, and the feeling is mutual. The title character accidentally turns himself invisible in an experiment gone-wrong and spends much of the book trying to undo this with great difficulty and ends up breaking several laws in the process.

you hope to be; whilst choosing invisibility is to choose to be the person you fear you are, and considered a ‘darker’ desire. This notion is best articulated by Oscar Wilde: “man is least himself when he is himself. Give a man a mask and he will show you his true self”; though there are plenty of ill-doings that could happen through flight, and plenty of good that can be actioned when invisible, so take it with a grain of salt!

At its core, the story asks the ageold philosophical question: “if you could have the power to fly or be invisible, which would you choose?” The question is famous in psychoanalytical reviews as the theory suggests that choosing flight is a noble aspiration and is choosing to be the person

The title character of the book is pitched against society as a whole who ultimately hunt for the invisible man. The title character constantly tries to justify and rationalise any wrongdoing he has caused due to his difficult circumstances; yet he is violent, destructive and a nuisance to the town and uses incriminating means of achieving his aims whilst slowly being consumed by greed and power. In many ways, this plotline does try to address whether the means justifies the ends; a debate faced by business enterprises and even within charitable work: are good intentions alone enough even if the actions result in damaging or ineffective outcomes? The book makes a strong argument to say, no.


“GIVE A MAN A MASK AND HE WILL SHOW YOU HIS TRUE SELF”



The real flagship of this universe is with the famous celebrity-like monster of Dr Frankenstein. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley delves deep into 19th century gothic themes. The story revolves around the secretive, selfish, and ambitious hermit Victor Frankenstein who is consumed by the desire to discover the secret of life and after several years of research becomes convinced that he has found it. He then spends months splicing and mashing old body parts together, and with an unnatural chemical, brings a creature to life, only referred to as ‘The Monster’. At the core of the story are the questions: what does it mean to be a monster? What makes a monster? Who, or what, is the novel’s true monster? Frankenstein asks questions that are relevant even today. Are we a species of monsters who through our ambitions and desires to progress: committed atrocities, caused and ignored the sufferings of other life on earth, and furthered ourselves and demanded much in life at the costs of others? The book itself is also quite unique in its literary style designed to depict The Monster through the writing itself. In the same illustration of how The Monster is a patchwork quilt

of different corpse parts, the novel itself is an amalgam of books, letters, notes, journals and inscriptions that help create an illusion to the reader that this work of fiction is actually a true story. In doing this, the novel places the reader as a ‘detective’ uncovering the case of Doctor Frankenstein and his Monster. It is also worth considering that the author is the daughter of a wellrenown feminist and the book subtly addresses abusive treatment towards women and the back-seat of society that European women were forced into during the eighteenth and nineteenth century.


Whilst cinema has brought many literary classics to universal fame, there is one story that is herald as a gothic literature masterpiece. Robert Louis Stevenson cemented gothic literature with the timeless tragedy “The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”. The book follows a mystery from the view of Mr Utterson, a reputable lawyer who has a client and close friend named Dr Jekyll: a wellrespected member of society known for his decency and charitable works. Utterson learns of a sinister assault on a young girl by a figure named Mr Hyde. It also becomes apparent to Utterson that Dr Jekyll has written a will transferring all his property to Mr Hyde. This crime-thriller is immersed with urban horror and abuse stories that were common to Victorian London. Typically with gothic novels, the book also plays on the fear of scientific progress and a fear of the consequences science was thought to bring during the Victorian era. The book is not the first to tackle the duality of human nature, but is certainly one of the most recognized books for doing so owing to the numerous expressions of this theme and the different struggles played out on the theme: man against beast, irrational against rational, good against evil, light against dark and powerful against the powerless. The book makes it very clear that Jekyll is very well respected. During the era in which the book is set, social reputation was fundamental and the book questions whether the way people present themselves to society and the reputation created is a true reflection of the person. Although known as a reputable man, Jekyll engaged in corrupt behaviours in his youth. He sees this as a burden to his reputation and seeks to separate his ‘corrupt’

traits from his honourable traits through scientific experimentation. At its core are the struggles and battles which humans have always faced: how do we tackle our inner demons? Should we hide them? Fight them? Accept them? The book also questions the judgemental and unforgiving nature of society then, and in many ways, still the same today. Will society ever truly accept the imperfection of humanity? The final question asked of the reader: Is human nature ‘demonic’ trying to impersonate an angel? Or, angelic and forever battling demons?

“You must suffer me to go my own dark way.” Roberet Louis Stevenson

The Strange Case of Dr. Kekyll and Mr. Hyde



These books can be discarded as spectacles and nonsense works of fiction if you base it on their movie adaptations alone. In doing so, you would miss the opportunity to be entertained by some of the most compelling works of literature in English history. The gothic literature genre asks many fundamental questions on morality and ethics, the nature of humanity, and actions and consequences. The books evoke the reader to think deeper about darker aspects of human nature and explore these with a true essence of empathy without ever approving of violence or criminal acts. Gothic literature often reminds us to question our beliefs, motives and actions and to consider the consequences of any action we take. These discussions are important if society is truly to become a more positive world, and for some, these books may be a good starting point for inspiration. â–



SUHAILA ABOUD


SuhaIla Aboud is a skilled medical professional with ten year’s experience in providing GenderBased-Violence (GBV) clinical care, capacity building and psychological support to survivors. She has facilitated trainings to various health and nonhealth providers in Kenya and participants from over 15 countries in Africa. She also has experience in providing emergency trauma care and primary and reproductive health care to complex social economic populations. "A discussion with Chirag Lodhia and Suhaila Aboud "


She has worked with Médecins Sans Frontières, United Nations Population Fund and is an Advisor Board Member of the United Nations Youth Association of Kenya. If this wasn’t enough, she is also the Co-Founder of GenderHealth Africa: a consulting firm registered in Kenya, comprising a team of experts in Sexual and Reproductive Health, Gender and Gender Based Violence. PTW sat down with Suhaila for a discussion on GBV and genderrelated health issues in Kenya.


When did you first learn about Sexual and Gender Based Violence and start to become involved with the issue? The first time i learnt about gender based violence was in 2007/2008 post election violence in Kenya when i worked in the emergency team that responded to the violence in the community that i was serving. I got to care and provide services for survivors of physical, psychological and sexual violence.

What motivated you to start ‘GenderHealth Africa’ and why did you feel it was important to start this organization?

for survivors of rape. I really wanted to be part of the change that i wanted to see, in terms of seeing health workers offering timely, empathetic and quality Through many interactions care to survivors of gender with health workers and my based violence especially sexual violence that’s how own personal experience i cofounded GenderHealth as a clinician and psychologist, i realized that Africa. I knew that my rich experience and passion many health workers were not specifically trained in for caring for survivors of the institutions that they sexual violence was the main studied on how to care backbone that i needed to start off GenderHealth Africa.


From your experience and knowledge about Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Kenya, what are the rates of Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Kenya and other part of Africa? Globally the prevalence of Gender Based violence is high. 1 in every 3 women is likely to experience some form of violence in their lifetime. This applies to Africa and Kenya as well. The more we talk about the harmful and negative effects of Gender based Violence and offer free services, the more survivors are confident to come forward and report these cases. seek medical care, psychological support and justice for the human rights violation that they went through. What are some of the reasons for high prevalence of Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Kenya and Africa in general? The core causes of Gender Based Violence are the same everywhere and these are as follows:

Once we are able to address these core causes then we will see a reduction in the prevalence of these cases. But you will see most of our African cultures are rooted in patriarchal structures. Issues misuse of power can not be ignored. from economic power, physical power all renders the person who has less power more vulnerable. And of course this applies to both men and women!

POWER IMBALANCE. GENDER INEQUALITY. LACK OF RESPECTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS.



From the time that you have started learning about this issue in Kenya till now, have you felt that society is embracing rights and responsibilities around Sexual and Gender Based Violence issues? It has been 10 years in this field for me now. There is a change in the country, though there still a lot more to be done. Policies have been formulated to guide on issues of GBV, More communities are now aware of the existence of GBV and more cases are now being reported than the previous years. People know their rights but the issues surrounding GBV are so complex and there is still a lot to be done. Due the stigma and shame many survivors still don’t report these cases.

What are the different issues being faced by male victims of GBV and how does the approach to support needed differ from females? I may not be best place to answer this question of proportions in the current figures in Kenya but my assumption would be between 1030% would be male survivors. The causes remain the same and the care as well. Only that as service providers we should set our health facilities and programs in a way that offers same empathetic care to both genders and provides an environment or programs that target both sexes even if we know that more women and girls are affected than men and boys.

There are still barriers to access of care for women and children especially in humanitarian settings.

“There is a change in the country, though there still a lot more to be done�


What tips and advice would you give to anyone who is a victim of Sexual and Gender Based Violence who is looking for support? First i would like to say that. #I believe survivors, and all health care providers that have received specific training on Gender based violence and clinical management of rape, who offer services are guided by 4 principles which are:

CONFIDENTIALITY RESPECT SAFETY AND SECURITY NON DISCRIMINATION Survivors do get to decide what care they would like to receive. From health, psychosocial care and legal support. Health care is lifesaving, as there is medication given to prevent HIV if one presents in a health facility within 72 hours, medication to prevent pregnancy within the 120 hours of exposure and also there is prophylaxis to prevent other Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Mental health care is important to recovery and healing and all these services are ideally free in most countries. Some countries have call centers where they have toll free numbers to call and get guidance on where to access services, this information can be found in online platforms.


Are there many victims who don’t reach out for help or keep quiet about being a victim?

harshly and blamed for what they went through by our own communities, plus unavailability of resources eg: sexual and reproductive health As a health care provider Unfortunately most we use the word survivors survivors do not reach out commodities and trained for help. As i said earlier, human resource are as an empowering way to address those who the issue of GBV is very part of the barriers that complex and many times prevent a survivor not have gone through any the survivors fear for their come forward and seek kind of Gender based violence as this promotes life from the perpetrator’s for help. recovery and healing, threats, are judged and also show the person that they overcome the great violation that they went through.


What tips and advice would you give to anyone who feels that their friend or family member might be a victim of Sexual and Gender Based Violence but unsure? First and foremost is to be able to create a trusting environment for the person to share if they would like to. It’s not a good practice to push someone to disclose when they are not ready to. There may be security issue that could be lifethreatening for them. When a survivor is ready to disclose be there to listen with empathy and offer psychological first aid. which is simple human to humane care anyone can give to a person who has gone through traumatic experiences. be there to listen without judgement and encourage the survivor to seek care and link them to they care that they need. ■

“A POSITIVELY TRANSFORMING WORLD TO ME IS WHERE ALL PEOPLE IN ALL WALKS OF LIFE ENJOY PEACE AND ARE GENTLE WITH EACH OTHER, HAVE ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE AND EDUCATION WITHOUT HAVING TO PAY A PRICE FOR IT.”


DR NIKHIL

POOVIAH


DR NIKHIL POOVIAH IS A CO-FOUNDER AND CEO OF CANCERAID MEDICAL APP. WE SPOKE TO NIKHIL ABOUT THE APP AND ITS IMPORTANCE TO PATIENTS WITH CANCER. "A discussion with Chirag Lodhia and Dr Nikhil Pooviah "

Click Me


What is CancerAid?

we have 11,558 active daily users. Cancer CancerAid is an app Institutions, Health designed to improve Insurance Providers cancer care on a global and Cancer Charities scale. Having launched can benefit from commercial licensing of to App Stores last year, CancerAid's premium it is already the number 1 cancer app in the components not available to the general US, UK and Australia. 40,000 users have public to reduce costs downloaded the app through re-admissions, and more importantly ER presentations and

long hospital admissions whilst providing a value-added service to patients, caregivers and clinicians. The Company was recently featured on Shark Tank along with being Apple's only Health app promoted in their recent App Store press release.


What was the motivation in creating CancerAid? CancerAid was conceived whilst I was working as a Cancer Doctor in the hospital. I played around on a chemotherapy calendar app 3 years ago and thought to myself that I can design something better. The app started as a hobby and now has become a full-time passion for me. I've seen cancer patients and their families experience widespread issues, so CancerAid has been developed to address these issues through innovative components. How did you design the app to encompass all of the different complexities of different cancers into one app that is also safe and reliable for app users? Our first solution is providing personalised cancer information to patients and their families. We have an Agreement with the National Cancer Institute (US) to provide their cancer & treatment information in-app. This information is peer-reviewed and medically-reliable and is very comprehensive for 131 different cancer types. We encourage patients to sit with their clinician to guide them to understand the correct information related to their particular cancer. How did you create and design CancerAid to be different from other apps?

There are thousands of cancer apps currently on the market. Our clinical expertise, credibility and access in the field of oncology have allowed us to design and develop a unique product that has already excelled on the App Store and Google Play store. We workshop with patients, caregivers and clinicians before any new component is developed, ensuring that their is appropriate productmarket fit. Along with this, we are constantly creating new components that we release in-app every 2 months. I believe I have the creativity to design new components not currently available in the market, ensure emerging competitors will always be a step behind.


With the growing success and support for CancerAid, where do you hope to take the app and this platform in the future? We want CancerAid to be the go-to resource for anyone that is diagnosed with cancer, or looks after someone with cancer. Our team is working hard to ensure that we are improving healthseeking behaviours of patients, reducing costs to the healthcare system and improving the quality of life of patients through our platform. By the end of this year, we hope to be helping 500,000 patients globally. By the end of next year, we hope to be helping 5 million patients. Long-term I can see us cross-expanding many components of the app to other chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. With the internet and web technology, people are able to access information readily. How have you felt this impact knowledge and understanding of health and how can the everyday person ensure the information they're reading or receiving is reliable, safe and appropriate for their own health and well being? It is very important to ensure all information is medically-reliable and peer-reviewed. One of the aims of CancerAid is to curate these resources into one section to ensure users have access to this gold-standard. The internet is incredible for improving access not previously available, and as doctors we are seeing improved health literacy amongst patients and their families. On the contrary, it can also add

to anxiety and confusion if not sourced in a meaningful way. Unfortunately, there is no easy solution to this problem currently. Modern medicine is placing a larger emphasis on family and friend support of patients. How important is this in cancer treatment and achieving good outcomes for people with cancer? I personally believe it is crucial to have an important support network when fighting a disease like cancer. We worked on our 'Champions' component for 6 months to ensure patients were able to nominate a support network of personal champions and medical champions. By developing a component like this, we now ensure patients have the ability to share their profile and experiences with their support network to ensure they have all the help they can get. Where do you see cancer treatment, therapy and management in the next 10 years? We are seeing great advances in personalised cancer treatments, and I'm sure the role of AI, machine-learning and new technologies will start to improve cancer detection and outcomes for patients.


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TAKUDZWA GWARIRO

Takudzwa Gwariro is a teacher by day, law student by night, and around this schedule, is a Paralympic Athlete. He worked with fellow physical education teacher Rachel Davis who was trying to assemble a Zimbabwean para-rowing crew and noticed he walked with a limp. She mustered up the courage to ask him why he walked with a limp and found he was eligible to compete as a para-rower. Not long later, he was Zimbabwe's flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro "A discussion with Chirag Lodhia and Takudzwa Gwariro "


As a young boy, did you aspire to becoming a professional athlete? As a young boy I had many aspirations from being the president to being the blue power ranger. By the time I was 15 I had my heart set on being a lawyer. I certainly did think of becoming a professional sportsman. When you grow up playing and doing well in sport it’s always at the back of your mind. I really wanted to play rugby in the Super IXV competition.

How supportive was your community of your disability growing up? Even though I wasn’t born with a disability, when I did get injured my family, friends and school were very supportive. My classmates would carry my books and a pillow around the school for me, my aunt and uncle provided transport to get me to my physiotherapy which the school paid

for. My parents were always there for me which I needed the most because morally I was devastated by the fact that I’d “never play competitive sport again”, as I was told by a rather skeptical nurse.


How does it feel going from a school teacher to an Olympic rower? Currently I am employed as a teacher and sports coach at St. George’s College. If I had to compare that to being an athlete preparing to row at the Paralympics I’d say the two worlds are light years apart. The emotional, mental and physical strains are completely different and preparing for the Paralympics was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. How do you fit time in for both working your regular job with the training required? It’s all about balance, so I had to work my job during the day and train in the afternoons till early evening. Then when I wasn’t on the water I’d have gym sessions at night. Weekends we would get on the water in the mornings maybe say at 9am get off at noon and have the afternoon off to rest and recover.

How do you prepare for the games to ensure that you are at physical and mental peak right at the games themselves? Well our programme was very different to the other, more developed countries because we got into the Olympic cycle very late. We just did as much as we could to get our fitness up and then in the final month we broke our race down to a science which I believe helped us smash our previous best time. This was because everyone knew their roles and what to do at certain points in the race. I cannot stress how important the expertise and leadership of our coach Rachel and our cox Jess was in this aspect. They were absolutely phenomenal.


Do you ever feel disheartened or limited by your physical differences? Honestly no! There are moments where I wish I could do this or that, especially play rugby again, but I live a very normal life and my injury has given me an extraordinary story to tell so in hindsight I feel blessed. how do you motivate people to push their limits and go beyond what they perceive as their limitations? I try to lead by example. I’ll give my best in hope of fostering competition so as to push others. On a personal level I’m just intrinsically motivated so I always strive for my level best. I also have a ritual where every morning I spend the first 20-30 minutes after waking listening to motivational speakers like Eric Thomas, Les Brown, Jim Rohn and others just to get me ready for the day. how do you feel the fairness of the games are with differently-abled athletes competing in the same events? I think the fairness and the spirit of the Games is still at an exceptionally high standard. The International Paralympic Committee works very hard to ensure that the categories for the various events allow for fair competition. Yes some people will complain that some countries pick the “most abled” disabled athletes, I think each country has the right to pick whoever they want as long as he/ she fits in the country. But I don’t think countries should be allowed to bend the rules or make grey areas with the ethics of selection and the severity of disability. Everything should be as clear as the contrast between black and white.


How much do you feel diet plays a role in your health and fitness and what would your daily diet consist off? Diet definitely plays a major role. I don’t really have a diet that’s outside the normal requirements, except the quantity because I definitely eat a lot! What I really look out for is if the food has been prepared well and if it’s healthy. I keep the junk food to a minimum because that just adds nothing nutritionally. How much of getting fit and healthy do you feel is mental strength compared to physical? Mentality is so important, I can’t stress that enough! I know they’ve been times when I’d go to the gym telling myself “today is a mental session” because maybe I’ll be tired or sore. But if you’re mentally strong you can always push through. Its part of the reason I have that ritual I mentioned earlier not just for motivation but exercise my mind and my spirit as well. What is health to you? Health consists of a balance of three things, the spirit, the mind, the body. If either one of these begins to ail then it can affect the other two. It is important to feed each of these with healthy inputs so as keep each at an optimal level. Basically health to me is when you’re leading your life in a productive/fulfilling manner and the three major aspects are free (or predominantly free) of illness.


What do you say about people who feel they’re not able to be healthy because of money or because of their lifestyle or body? To those who say “I don’t have enough time” – Prioritize, if you manage your time well you can do the things that mean something to you. To those who say “I don’t have enough support” – believe in yourself first! Those who see our vision will follow/support you. To those who say “I don’t have enough knowledge” – there’s a wealth of free knowledge on the internet or go old school and pick up a book and read it. To those who say “I don’t have enough money” – honestly that’s a tough one because in Zimbabwe for example that can be paralyzing factor for many; my heart sinks as I write this because I know firsthand how debilitating this can be. To that all I can say is seek opportunity, leave no stone unturned, try and provide a service, look for a cheaper option, keep believing maybe one day you’ll get a lucky break!

In the Olympics, the top 10 countries come from typically wealthyeconomic countries; do you feel money plays a significant part in how far an athlete or country can achieve greatness?

How did you find the experience at Rio 2016?

The experience of RIO 2016 was the best time of my life. I made memories that I’ll never forget! Like walking into the Maracana bearing the flag of my I think money plays a country and the crowd is massive part in athlete making so much noise and development that’s why cheering. Sometime during the top 10 is dominated the opening ceremony I by typically wealthy realized that I was in the countries. The quality of stadium where two of my training facilities, doctors favourite soccer players and physiotherapists, (Bastian Schweinsteiger equipment, motivation, and Thomas Muller) had culture among others won the world cup in 2014, all influence athlete I truly felt like I was on development. And all hallowed ground. What I these things are to an learnt is that people with extent influenced by disabilities can still do money. One of the reasons amazing things like bench the sporting cultures in press 174kgs or throw a Zimbabwe and the USA are javelin 40m or swim with no so different for example arms or play Nintendo Wii is because in Zimbabwe with their feet! you’re told “there’s no future in that, where will you go with this? There’s no money in that, get a REAL job”. And in truth it’s very difficult for a Zimbabwean sportsperson to make a living off their sport. And so they either quit or leave the country and so young Zimbabweans grow up with little to no national heroes.


What goals do you have your sights on next for the future? I the next big goal is to graduate with my LLB degree. Then I’ll decide whether I’ll go into practicing law or continue on in the educational system. Rowing made me attract the “travel bug” so I definitely want to travel more and where possible take my family with me. ■



In today’s modern world, technology rules all. While technologies encroaching nature on our social lives can be bothersome at times, there are multiple ways in which technology can enhance life for the better. There are calendars with reminders for events, banking apps that allow check deposits through photos, online shopping platforms, and even an app where you can order groceries to be delivered! But one section of life that has been at the forefront of handheld technology is healthcare. Yes, that’s right: there are applications that can assist in monitoring your health such as blood pressure, blood sugar and more.

Even health professionals now use many applications throughout the day to look up medication information, suggested treatments for a condition, and to continue education on topics such as Anatomy heart health. Even in lifestyle health applications are being made to track diet and exercise balance. An enormous number of applications exist for the everyday person to take control of what is happening to their body. Whether you are interested in maintaining good health, have conditions that need monitoring, or just want to completely overhaul your lifestyle, there is most likely an app! Here is a selection of apps that might be of use to you.


Baby Center I found it fitting to begin our journey with an application involving the beginning of life! Baby Center is notable for the ‘Bumpie’ feature, Contraction Counter, and helpful discussion forums. Users seem to love the section for taking “bumpies”selfies of their baby bumps to track abdominal growth. The

contraction counter allows users to track how often the contractions occur, and gives feedback about what is happening and when the mother should head to her birthing facility. Baby Cemnter came out on top for friendly users and helpful information presented in the community forum. Baby Center

mySugr Those living with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus know the importance of monitoring their glucose levels daily. Started in 2012 in Vienna, Austria, the app mySugr gives them the opportunity to do more than just that! The mySugr Scanner feature allows for the sending of glucose readings from the blood sugar monitor to the application, where it can be viewed on a charted graph and then analyzed. Reports can also be generated to give an estimated hemoglobin A1C level which is the gold-standard for measuring diabetes, reducing the shock that can sometimes come when this level is drawn at a medical office. The mySugr Coach provides information and advice from Certified Diabetes Educators. There is also a module that provides insulin bolus calculations (a feature

available only in Europe). What I find most interesting about the mySugr application is the ability to synchronize with some models of Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs). CGMs are devices with sensors and transmitters that are worn all the time in order to send a steady stream of information about one’s glucose level. Some CGMs can be synchronized to both an insulin pump, and the mySugr app, for more accurate and safe monitoring of glucose levels. It is important to note, though, that CGMs should be used in addition to the traditional blood glucose monitoring, as the levels in the interstitial fluid, which is where the CGM measure’s sugar levels, tend to lag behind those in the blood. A mySugr junior app exists as free and easy platform for young patients with diabetes to start controlling their condition early!

also tracks fetal development by week, has a baby name finder, tips for dealing with morning sickness and other common symptoms, and a baby kick counter. Additionally, Baby Center changes into a daily parenting guide once the due date has passed, to help the transition into parenthood for the first year.


AsthmaMD Asthma MD is a free medical app created by Sam Peljham, a US pediatrician and medical researcher. Users of this app are able to log their asthma attacks with details of the symptoms, see the attacks and severity charted over time, and set reminders for taking their medications. The application compiles this data into charts and graphs, which can be emailed to medical providers or printed for personal use. The application also has an interactive asthma action plan section, allowing for immediate access anywhere rather than having to keep track of a traditional paper at all times. While the app itself is free, the incredibly helpful feature of a Peak Flow

Meter can be added. A peak flow meter is a hand-held device that calculates lung performance based on how much air can be blown in one blast. The meter sends this information to the application, which can again be used for self monitoring as well as providing information to the medical provider at office visits.In addition to assisting the patient and the medical provider in their care, AsthmaMD also sends anonymous information to researchers so data can be compiled about asthma triggers, frequency of attacks in a certain area, and pollutants that could be the cause. Users are able to opt in or opt out of this, as privacy is very much respected.

Pocket First Aid and CPR Pocket First Aid and CPR is endorsed by The American Heart Association. This application includes instructions on how to handle many common emergencies and first aid procedures, including proper instructions for CPR, splinting a fractured bone, wound care, care for bites, diabetic emergencies, and choking. Information is presented in a short and succinct manner, perfect for those concerning, time-sensitive situations. There are also videos and detailed pictures available to more

accurately assist in safe execution of procedures. Dr. Iltifat Husein, a doctor in America discussed the story of how the app saved a Colorado man’s life. By using the instructions in the Pocket First Aid and CPR application, Dan Woolley was able to use his shirt and belt to bandage and stabilize his own leg, and used a sock to apply pressure to stop his head wound from bleeding until he could seek professional medical attention. This would be a great app for hikers, campers, babysitters, parents, or anyone who wants to be prepared for emergency situations!


can be accessed for healthy recipe ideas and encouraging MyFitnessPal is an application tips for pushing forward when advertised as a way to help lose the journey gets difficult. And for those who use wearable weight, but I have personally found it useful for both losing fitness trackers, MyFitnessPal may even synchronize with weight and maintaining a that! FitBit, Garmin, Under lifestyle. The app has features Armour, and Misfit are only such as a food diary, exercise a few of the brands partnered diary, water tracker, and with MyFitnessPal. weight tracker. In the food diary section, users input what they ate and in what amounts, If you did not see an app and the app calculates the relevant to you, never fear! calories consumed. Users can Many more applications set a calorie limit for the day geared toward health exist, based on how many pounds for many more aspects of life they wish to lose, which than I was able to address but ranges from 2 pounds (0.91 we will continue to deliver kg) per week at the most, more information here at to maintaining the current PTW. Please use this only weight. The exercise diary as a guide, and do your own provides calculated calories additional research when burned based on the type deciding for yourself what is and duration of the activity right for you! And remember, performed. These two diaries no application is meant to then merge on the main page replace professional medical to display the calories in vs care. Use these applications to calories out, and how many help manage your health and more are “allowed� for the day. There are also community supplement regular visits to discussions and blog posts that your healthcare center. MyFitnessPal


Mindfulness has taken off in schools around the world and is based on the principle that in the 21st century, with the growing demands that we have upon us, the increase of technology and the lack of presence, we are more stressed than ever before. Both adults and children go through what Mindful Schools (a program designed to teach children Mindfulness) describe as 'toxic stress'. They say that although stress can sometimes lead to productivity, 'toxic' stress can build up in children and impair emotions, concentration, sleep and much more. For parents, toxic stress has similar drawbacks. It can lead to a parenting style that looks more like a “to-do� list, rather than an empathic, present centered relationship with a developing child. There are various mindfulness programs out there, and in the last 5 years Mindfulness has become a contentious topic in Education. A quick google search of the question 'Is Mindfulness a fad' yields about 273,000 results so the question we look at today is: Why are schools taking mindfulness on, and is it beneficial for learners in the 21st century? Those in favour of Mindfulness believe that practicing Mindfulness leads to increased productivity, higher level of concentration, calming and emotional regulation. They say it builds resilience and compassion and allows people to become adaptable because they become more aware of their behaviours in relation to others. So why do people oppose this and label Mindfulness a 'fad or cult'?


At the start of the day, after play time outdoors, and before children go home, just spending one minute of being mindful and breathing, can help children's concentration and brings them back into the room. It can also help reduce anxiety they have about issues happening outside the classroom, for example, a misunderstanding with a friend at breaktime. Taking the time to stop and breathe gives children the time to think about their feelings and helps them manage themselves better.

People who toy with the idea of whether Mindfulness does boost resilience and compassion, are likely to be people who have not given it a go for long enough. There are so many new ideas in education, that you cannot blame people for being weary of what truly works. There are various programmes that can be used in schools to adopt a Mindfulness approach, and I use these approaches regularly in my classroom.


Tips for including mindfulness into your daily routine: 1. Get a chime, play the chime once and ask the children to breathe in and listen to their breath. Play it a second time and have them close their eyes and concentrate on their breath for one minute. Ask them how they feel at the end of this exercise. 2. Although it may seem counterintuitive to use screen time, websites and apps for various mindfulness activities can help to tune into the day or follow activities for calming at home or in the learning environment. Remember to just use the technology to help organize the mindfulness activity, and not make the screen the centre of the activity. 3. Have children reflect on their feelings. Stop and ask them how they feel at different times of the day. This will allow the children to be more mindful of how different things affect them. â–



An endless night sky glittering with dancing, mysterious lights. An icy, inhospitable landscape littered with predators. Constant darkness during the winter months, the only warmth and light coming from the flickering fire, casting strange shadows over the walls. Living in this world, it is easy to see how and why the Vikings and other Norsemen developed such

enthralling stories and Gods. Storytelling was an important role; during the dark days entertainment was a necessity, and this came from magical, curious and at times horrifying tales of the Gods, giants, dwarves and monsters they believed lived among them.

The story centres around the secretive Shadow Moon, an ex-convict whose wife died in a car accident just before he was freed from prison. On leaving prison, he meets the enigmatic ‘Mr Wednesday’ – it only requires a little knowledge of mythology to know that the word ‘Wednesday’ comes from the name of the Norse all-father God, Odin.

God after ancient God to join an army – an army to defeat the modern gods, whom Odin argues are taking the worshiping from the more ancient Gods. These new Gods are the things we revere in our modern world: television, technology, the internet. The ancient Gods are fearful of being forgotten and join up readily, coming together to fight a common enemy.

We travel with the two through America, signing up ancient

However, in Neil Gaiman’s novels, nothing is quite that

It is easy to become fascinated by these ancient tales, and it

seems that the author Neil Gaiman is. His novel American Gods imagines these gods in modern day America. They travelled to that land with settlers and immigrants, and lived their lives alongside other deities- Egyptian, pagan, Indian Gods, all with their own rituals and ways of worshipping.

straightforward. Of course, there are skirmishes along the way, and Shadow’s wife turns up a number of times, despite being quite dead. But there is another layer here. In this world where Gods feed off worship, what would make Odin, God of war, more powerful? Why is Odin so keen to start this fight, and have as many gods join as possible? Where is Odin, at the start of the battle he so eagerly brought about?


There are so many hints at and links to mythology in this story that I am certain I missed most, and if you have a passion for theology, mysticism or getting a headstart on what looks to be a future Hollywood blockbuster, this would be a worthy read. It is incredible to think of the amount of research Gaiman put into this novel. The passion with which he writes about myths and legends has inspired me to read more; particularly Native American mythology, which I'm sure appeared a number of times but I know so little about it to pick up the subtle references. If your knowledge of Norse mythology is rusty, I would recommend reading Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman before you read American Gods. This will give you an entertaining insight into the stories and characters to look out for before you begin. â–



Diabetes is a chronic condition that is fastly becoming a household name. The WHO organisation estimated in 2016 that The number of people worldwide with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014 and has been rising more rapidly in middleand low-income countries. These numbers are on the rise.

Jeenal Patel

PTW Health Management Officer

Myth 1: There is only one type of diabetes There are many types of diabetes with the most common being Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, formerly known as insulin dependent or juvenile diabetes, occurs when the body’s organ, the pancreas, does not produce enough insulin, which is a key hormone that controls sugar levels in the blood. The cause of Type 1 diabetes is unknown and people with are typically born with the condition. Unfortunately it is not preventable. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes to look out for, especially in adolescents, include: being excessively thirsty, feeling hungry, tired and lethargic, blurred vision and passing more urine.

Although the disease is becoming common, there are still many myths and misconceptions about diabetes. We are here to throw light on some of the more common mistaken beliefs. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and is formerly known as noninsulin-dependent or adult-onset diabetes. The disease occurs when the body cannot effectively use the insulin that is produced to regulate sugar levels. Symptoms are often similar yet less pronounced than Type 1 diabetes and hence it is often underdiagnosed. However, Type 2 diabetes can be prevented! Gestational diabetes is a temporary condition that occurs during pregnancy. Women who develop gestational diabetes are often at higher risk of developing other complications during their pregnancy. While this condition is usually limited to pregnancy only, women who have gestational diabetes are at a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the future.


Myth 2: Diabetes is caused by eating too much sugar While eating excess amounts of sugar is not good for you, diabetes is not caused simply by eating too much sugar alone. In other words, having a once-off sugar-binge won’t cause you to get diabetes. Overweight and obesity, together with physical inactivity, are estimated to cause a large proportion of the global diabetes burden. Other factors also include: large waist circumference, high BMI and genetics. All these factors including diet are what impacts the body’s inability to produce or effectively use insulin. Insulin, as mentioned, is the hormone that regulates sugar levels in the blood. Those with diabetes are still able to eat sugar including desserts, but only in moderation and have to do frequent blood tests to ensure the sugar levels in the blood do not go too high.

Myth 3: All diabetics have to have insulin injections Those with Type 1 diabetes are dependent on supplement insulin injections because their pancreas cannot produce enough insulin in the body. Type 2 diabetics however, may not need insulin replacement. some can maintain a Myth 4: Diabetes is not a serious condition The WHO reports that Diabetes caused 1.5 million deaths worldwide in 2012 alone. All types of diabetes are serious and can lead to further health complications and significantly impact people’s quality of life. Diabetes is a leading cause of kidney failure and doubles the risk of developing a heart attack or strokes. Diabetes can

healthy blood sugar level on die and exercise. Others may need diabetic medications which come in tablet form. Type 2 diabetes however is a progressive condition and often becomes worse with time.Up to 50% of those with Type 2 diabetes will need insulin injections over time as the pancreas begins to produce less insulin. also cause nerve damage in the hands and feet, impact eyesight causing blindness, and reduces the blood flow around the body. This increases the risk of infection which can ultimately lead to amputations of the hands and feet and other severe consequences. Therefore, it is very important for all diabetics to maintain blood sugar levels, and have frequent visits to their GP, podiatrist and ophthalmologist.


Myth 5: You can’t prevent diabetes While Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, many people can avoid getting Type 2 diabetes! There are a number of lifestyle measures that are effective in preventing and managing Type 2 Diabetes and its complications:

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• Maintain a healthy body weight • Making healthy food choices. Eat everything in moderation and avoid sugar and saturated fats. • Maintain a good blood pressure range and low cholesterol levels • Regular physical activity. It is recommended that 30 minutes of moderateintensity activity be completed on at least 5 days of the week. • Avoid or stop smoking: to decrease your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. There are a number of nicotine replacement therapies that are available from your local doctor or pharmacy if you do wish to quit smoking.


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